Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nanner Puddin' (Banana Pudding)

Here in the South, the best known banana dish HAS to be banana pudding. Nowadays, most people make banana pudding with ripe bananas, instant vanilla puddingCool Whipand Nilla wafers. After the introduction of vanilla wafers by Nabisco in 1901, the recipe began being printed on the package – I can’t tell you how many “family recipes” for banana pudding I’ve seen that are word-for-word, the Nilla wafer recipe.

For me, TRUE banana pudding should be custard-based, and always tastes better the next day (day old and BOLD, baby!). Opinions differ on whether the pudding should be topped with a baked meringue or a whipped cream, but I’ve always preferred whipped cream (mostly in part to my incredible dislike of the texture of meringue). Making this recipe from scratch seems daunting, but it’s really quite easy. Plus, the flavor and texture of the pudding is well worth the effort!

The BF and I have a long-standing banana agreement. He prefers his bananas a little more firm and completely yellow. I like them once they have begun to SLIGHTLY soften and have a few brown spots. Once they go completely brown and mushy, they’re inedible but PERFECT for banana bread. If I have super-ripe bananas ready, but don’t feel like making banana bread just yet, I sometimes just squeeze the banana out into a plastic bag and freeze it until I’m ready!

#7 = My ideal banana

When picked, bananas are completely green; they are ripened in special rooms with ethylene gas. The ethylene stimulates the production of pectinase, which is an enzyme that breaks down the pectin between the banana’s cellular walls. As ripening occurs, the starches break down into sugars, and the fruit softens.

Also, ripe bananas actually fluoresce under ultraviolet light – this happens as the chlorophyll degrades in the skin. In addition, the whole “don’t eat the tip because spiders lay their eggs in there” thing? TOTAL MYTH

If you have any leftover bananas, treat yourself to a PWT classic - a banana & mayonnaise sandwich on the whitest bread you can find. 

Banana Pudding

¾ cup + 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
4 ½ Tbsp cornstarch
1 egg, room temperature
2 egg yolks, room temperature
3 cups WHOLE milk
4 tsp vanilla extract, divided
½ tsp kosher salt
4 ½ Tbsp unsalted butter
4 large ripe bananas, sliced thinly
1 11oz box vanilla wafers, reserve 8-10 for crushing
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup powdered sugar

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, egg, egg yolks, milk, 3 tsp vanilla extract and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook, whisking CONSTANTLY, over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble, about 8-10 minutes. This happens pretty quickly - the pudding goes from a thin mixture to a thick "gloppy" consistency in seconds. 

It wasn't until it was too late that I realized that I had measured out 3 TABLESPOONS of vanilla instead of teaspoons.
OOPS.. It still "eat pretty good"

Stir in the butter and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting (On my stove, I turn off the heat completely); whisk until the butter has completely melted. 

Strain the custard through a mesh sieve and let cool in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Once cooled, place a layer of sliced bananas in the bottom of an 2-3 quart dish. Top with a layer of vanilla wafers, then a layer of pudding. Repeat until all of the bananas, wafers and pudding have been layered; the top layer should be pudding. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.

I had just enough pudding, bananas and wafers to do three complete layers.

I like to place the plastic wrap DIRECTLY on the pudding, to prevent "pudding skin".

He also likes his chicken spicy.

Beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar and remaining 1 tsp vanilla together until light and airy. Spread atop the chilled pudding. Crush the reserved vanilla wafers and sprinkle on top.

I like to transfer my banana pudding to a deep plastic container if I'm not planning to serve everything all at once; my usual "pudding dish" allows NO room for a top or foil...


  1. wow and so deliciously thick!


  2. I love your photos of ripeness of bananas. I like the look of that #7 myself. I love to just mash up ripe bananas with a fork with raw cacao powder for breakfast, brunch or lunch. Makes a super easy healthy meal with no clean up except a plate and a fork!

    I have to wonder about this statement you made though, "If you have any leftover bananas, treat yourself to a PWT classic - a banana & mayonnaise sandwich on the whitest bread you can find." -- Why do you suggest the whitest bread you can find?

    I find white bread to be flavorless, and of course, it is devoid of nutrition and actually very harmful to the body.

    Thanks for posting about ripe bananas!

    1. Aw shucks, take a break with the criticism

  3. I merely suggested the white bread to keep the banana sandwich classicly white trash - of course, any bread can be used!

    Thanks for reading!

  4. Looks very yummy n tasty! well explained